The Velo Course: The USDAP [usedUp] Loop

You know, I have all these rides I want to add to the Velo Course, many of them from older days; between making the map, riding them again for the photos, and then doing the write-up they take longer than other posts. It's just going to have to be a slower growing list that I would like it to be.

 lower Mt. Baldy Road

San Dimas Canyon

"One by one, I had considered and discarded all my ideas for the day's ride; I just was not inspired by any of the usual routes." With that distinct lack of inspiration, the USDAP [usedUp] Loop was created. The route includes portions of four shorter loops which, grouped together, I call the Home Loops, or the Hour Loops because they are all relatively close to home, or take about an hour to ride. Taken in order those loops are the Upper, San Dimas, Amelia, and Puddingstone - USDAP.

The usedUp Loop is a mostly urban ride, with just one short foray into the local mountains, an up and back through the lower portion of San Dimas Canyon. The canyon may be the marquee of this ride, but it is not the only highlight - mountain views along the short stretch of Mt. Baldy Road, old town San Dimas, Bonelli Park, Claremont Village and the Claremont Colleges, are all additional points of attraction. Much of this route has been covered separately before, so I am going to jump right in to the turn-by-turn description:

Once again I will use the Vons/Euro Cafe parking lot for the starting/ending point for its obvious advantages (space, food, drink). From the parking lot head north on Mills Avenue (toward the mountains), at Mt. Baldy Road make a right passing by the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. At the next light, with views of Sunset Peak, Potato Mountain, Frankish Peak, Ontario Peak, and others, make a right and descend along Padua Avenue. You will follow Padua for about a mile, making another right at the first through street back to Mills - Pomello Drive. Go left on Mills, then right on Alamosa, the next street. Make a left on Monticello Road, which curves around Jaeger Park and a residential track. Follow this with a left on Fairfield Drive, then another left on Armstrong Drive; where Armstrong runs into the top of Indian Hill Blvd take the turn to the left and descend the gentle grade to Baseline. At Baseline go right, up and over the hill at the edge of town, passing the Webb School, Live Oak Canyon, and the Leroy Haynes School, in the process.

You are now in the city of La Verne and soon face the option of the day - should you take Esperanza, or should you take Emerald. Emerald (turn right) is the preferred option for this route, it is of a more rolling nature involving numerous street changes. Esperanza, which you arrive at first, is a sudden steep climb, before leveling off and making a wide, sweeping turning into Golden Hills Road. If you take Emerald it will pass through a couple stop signs then bend left and change to Orangewood Street. Pass the channel-side trail to Marshall Canyon, and punch it up the small bump to Via de Mansion, where you turn right. At Via Arroyo go right again, then left on Via Entrada where there is another short bump. Turn right again on Birdie Drive, then right on Country Club Drive which bends up and around to Golden Hills where you will turn left. Take Golden Hills until it seemingly ends at a locked gate with signs saying no cars, no bikes, no pedestrians. At this point I can't recommend you ignore all that and simply go around the gate like everyone does anyway. You can turn left on Wheeler, right on Baseline, then right on San Dimas Canyon Road, which is what the city would have you do. If you choose to ignore the signs and gate, do watch for the rockslides and other debris - the reason this road is closed is because it is a perpetual problem to maintain. Once you are on San Dimas Canyon Road head up this most scenic part of the ride. Enjoy the overhanging canopy of oaks and sycamores, the roadside stream and the green enclosing mountainsides. The dam will come into view, but top it and keep going. At roads end (pavement end, actually) there is a fire station, your turn around point. The dirt road continues into the San Dimas Experimental Forest - a closed area to all but scientists and government personnel. The descent back to the city is fun, but watch for traffic.

Once back into the urban area make a right on Baseline, and follow this to the hill at the edge of town (why is there always a hill at the edge of town?) Heading down the gentle slope you enter Glendora. Make a left at Amelia and follow that down to Gladstone where you make a left, then an almost immediate right where Amelia continues. This short gentle hill is a sprint point for many local rides that go this way. At Fifth Street go left and follow this residential street to South Monte Vista Avenue where you make a right. You are going to go through the intersection at Bonita; however, this is the quaintly Western old town area of San Dimas with some fun little independent shops and cafes if you want to spend a little time. Regardless of how much time you take here continue along Monte Vista to Commercial and turn left, then right on San Dimas Avenue. Take this to Puddingstone Drive where you make a left, being watchful of traffic at this fast, and uncontrolled, intersection. Follow Puddingstone around its many curves, beside Bonelli Park (of which I have written many times), to where it comes out at Brackett Airfield. Just beyond the control tower make a left on Wright Avenue which winds around through an industrial/commercial complex before ending at Fairplex Drive opposite the Auto Club Speedway. Gene's Grinder (on Wright Ave) is a popular grub and watering hole for some of the local group rides (although I can't say much in favor of their coffee). At Fairplex make a left; go right on 3rd, left on 'G', then right on Bonita Avenue. Bonita is the Citrus Regional Bikeway, or will be once you leave La Verne and ride through, first Pomona, and then Claremont.

When you get back to the Claremont Village you could simply take the most direct route - through the commercial core, left on College, right on Foothill, left on Mills, and back up to where you started. It is more fun though, to spend at least a little time weaving through the Claremont Colleges, or checking out the shops in the Village. The choice is yours - if you simply head in a general direction uphill and toward the mountains, no matter which campus roads and paths you follow through the Colleges, you will reach Foothill and Mills. The stats for this one come out at thirty-one (31) miles and 1800 feet of elevation gain.

waterfowl at Bonelli Park

bikes lined up...

and riders gathered at Gene's Grinders